Saturday, March 31, 2012
We homo sapiens are shapers. We have opposable thumbs and by golly, we make use of them. We build, sculpt, knead, squeeze, shave, saw, sew, cook and duct tape the world until we see a landscape that makes sense to us. Because we feel it's important to get a grip. When we say someone is "losing his grip," that's not a good sign.
Once we've created a shape we like, we hang on - tight! C'mon, you know you do it too! I'm talking not only about the physical environment, but also the landscape of what we believe. I bet the Dalai Lama has to work at it as hard as the rest of us. Almost as hard? Letting go is something humans must practice. We aren't wired for it.
Yeah, you can NOT grasp the river, right? But we try anyway. It is one of our most adorable traits, if you ask me. This morning I was thinking about one of my core issues having to do with my relationship to my mother. I decided I would build an altar to her, to make space to explore further. I found a few pictures after sifting through mountains of pics of people I didn't remember and situations that meant nothing to me.
In the end I tossed all the pics of places and times I don't remember, carefully put away the pictures of my mother. I built my altars to this issue decades ago. I don't need to travel this terrain any longer. What was I saying yesterday, about how getting older is about letting go? Oh yeah! Onwards and upwards.
Friday, March 30, 2012
I wax rhapsodic on a regular basis about the benefits of growing older. I am the spokesperson for aging, a passionate advocate of old age. Of course I live in our society, hence in spite of my enthusiasm, the process is often daunting. Just like everyone else, looking in the mirror is somewhat of a shock, though in my case I think I look more like "myself" than I did as a young, slender, pretty woman. It's interesting. I've been an old woman all my life, waiting to age.
Recently I'm noticing, in working with some core issues and old stories, how much more grounded I am than I once was. A friend told me recently that I'm more confident than I know. I've been thinking about that. These days, I'm able to take my time, really think about things, before creating a story about what's going on. I'm less willing to believe what others swear is "true," no matter how vociferous they are. I am so much wiser than I was as a younger woman! It kind of blows my mind.
Earlier in life it seemed fitting and proper to struggle, wrestle, engage with my history, my demons. God knows, I clocked many years of battle on those fronts, on the psychotherapeutic couch, in magical workings as a witch, later as a shaman. I've been praying every day for decades - surely that has helped. Young adulthood requires a willingness to participate in hand-to-hand combat, as it were, with the facets of personality and history that shape us. We must engage. At least this was my experience in the Reyaverse of young adulthood.
One of the many wonders of growing older is that it's OK to lay down the weapons, holster the pistols, unclench the fists and let go of everything that didn't quite work, also everything that didn't work at all. Old enough now to realize clearly how finite this beautiful life is, I will cherish what works, what is beautiful and nutritious for body, heart and soul. I no longer need to bicker with what doesn't work. I'm done.
The Sufi acupuncturist tells me that in my 60s, I will be at my shining best. I'm beginning to see what he's talking about.
Life is good and I am who I am - no more, no less. I have my place in the family of things. I am grateful. Shalom.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Do you have past lives? I do. I have many past lives, oh yeah. I'm not the first person, nor will I be the last, to occasionally feel an immediate sense of being at home with someone I've just met. I experience intense affiliations for certain landscapes that have nothing to do with my current incarnation, also certain historical periods resonate strongly. I attribute these powerful connections to past lives during which I knew people and walked the land I still feel kinship with.
Once upon a time I was a fervent believer - in past lives, magic, karma, etc. These days I no longer think in terms of what's "true" nor do I depend on what I believe to be true since my beliefs frequently change shape. Sometimes my beliefs disappear all at once in metaphorical poofs of smoke. The fact that my belief system is so malleable leads me away from thinking that beliefs necessarily point to objective truths.
I'm getting a little fancy here. All I'm saying is, I have past lives. If you don't, that's cool with me! There are an infinite number of universes, say the physicists. Perhaps in mine reincarnation is "real," while in yours, it isn't. I believe it!
Soul retrieval, another concept that's part of the Reyaverse, sometimes involves time travel to other lives when shit happened that was potent enough to leave an imprint on the soul that survives the circle of death and rebirth, sometimes over long periods of time. As often as not, past life imprints are cultural. I believe at the end of the last century when Brits and Americans began digging up the treasures of ancient Egypt, we reclaimed a splendid heritage. For our culture, those discoveries triggered a soul retrieval that made possible the creation of non-traditional spiritual schools like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, for instance, and a whole lot of other things as well.
I can go on and on, can't I?
I'm writing about this today because there's a very powerful past-life narrative I have been confronted with twice in conversation with two different people who have never met and know nothing about each other. Both of these people "remember" me from another time. I remember them as well. The details of their narratives are freakishly similar. I'm thinking about this story that involves betrayal and murder, also a passionate love triangle. I'm thinking hard. I'm praying and pulling tarot cards and wondering what I'm supposed to learn, how can I integrate the almost identical narratives, what am I supposed to do with this information?
How could these two people "remember" the exact same story involving me? Good lord, you can't make this stuff up. In the Reyaverse many things are possible, but when something this blatantly clear comes through, it's unnerving!
Yep, that's pollen. Happy spring!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
That is not a typo, I am indeed a mighty worrier. It's a habit I believed was an integral part of me (whatever that means) all my life. Lately I've been urged by my spirit guides to break that habit. They are encouraging me to trust. I have to do my part - return phone calls, schedule appointments, do the laundry, etc. In return the world will respond by holding me securely. What a concept! Gravity is reality but I have tended not to trust even that. I really am a mighty worrier. Or - I HAVE been. Now is the time to make a change, to connect to the nurturing powers of planet earth. In this way, or so say the spirit guides, I can become a relaxed participant in life. This is my goal for the decade of my sixties. I am tired of worrying.
The Spirit of Eagle tells me that a healthy sense of pride is not accessible to those who worry constantly over everything small and large. Worry obfuscates pride. It's interesting to think about.
Hence I will not worry about what's going on down at the Supreme Court. The justices are scrutinizing the health care law. I've listened to bits of the proceedings on NPR. Can I just say: BORING! They're playing a mindgame in there that only lawyers could possibly understand. May clear heads prevail. Good lord!
Outside the court it's more fun. There are tons of reporters of course, also various groups most of whom are against the law. I watched an interesting exchange between a guy from one of those groups and someone who was there to support the idea of national healthcare.
Man against: "Canadians have national health care, but they cross the border to access our health care system!"
Man for: "Not any of the Canadians I know!"
Man against repeats exact same statement.
Man for (puts it together in his mind) "Oh - you're talking about cosmetic plastic surgery that isn't paid for by the Canadian government."
Man against repeats exact same statement.
The man in support was thoughtful and calm. The man against seemed stuck in an angry loop. It was kind of fascinating and I wondered what the Sufi acupuncturist would make of his behavior, the look on his face (which was a frozen mask of anger). I only wondered for a second, though, because the energy was really intense down there. The environment is not conducive to practicing trust. I beat a hasty retreat.
Life is good and I am grateful. Shalom.
Monday, March 26, 2012
What a crazy spring. Everything is blooming all at once - so different than the way early spring normally unfolds - and now they say we're going to have a freeze tonight. Temps will fall into the upper 20s. Good lord, how will the green world adjust? And the birds - is this bizarro weather going to mess up their migration? I haven't heard the spring birds I usually hear at this time. It's upside down and inside out this year.
As if in shamanic alignment with the crazy weather, Brother Wind is flying around in fits and starts. Is there such a thing as a gust of wind that jerks, stops, blows, changes direction, blows again? Surely there is because that's what's going on out there. In addition, the city has decided to re-brick the sidewalk in front of the Chateau. It is completely unnecessary as the sidewalk is perfect. There are many blocks on Capitol Hill that could use the new bricks. Ahh, this is the E. Capitol Street experience. It's very loud.
Brother Wind, crazy weather, and screaming brick saws should be enough, right? But there's more! I'm talking about the shenanigans ongoing seven blocks away at the Supreme Court. I hate the term "Obamacare" which is absolutely meaningless. I do not envy the justices who will hear the arguments, nor the people camped out in front of the Court since it's going to get really cold tonight. I hear sirens and bullhorn announcements from down the street. Helicoptors are circling around overhead. It's mayhem I tell you.
It would be prudent to DUCK AND COVER today. I'm going to see clients after which I might forget prudence, instead nip down to the Supreme Court, take some pics. We shall see.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Brain scans show synchrony between the brains of mother and child; but what they can't show is the internal bond that belongs to neither alone, a fusion in which the self feels so permeable it doesn't matter whose body is whose. Wordlessly, relying on the heart's semaphores, the mother says all an infant needs to hear, communicating through eyes, face and voice. Thanks to advances in neuroimaging, we now have evidence that a baby's first attachments imprint its brain. The patterns of a lifetime's behaviors, thoughts, self-regard and choice of sweethearts all begin in this crucible. --Diane Ackerman from a piece in today's New York Times, "The Brain on Love."
That's some purple prose, hey? Ha!
It caught my eye as I continue to loosen the stranglehold my original wound has had on my heart/mind my entire life. My mother didn't want me, bond with me or "get" me in any way, and vice versa, frankly. It's no one's fault, it just was what it was. Is it any wonder that my romantic relationships were unimaginably dysfunctional? Good lord.
Life is short. What do I want to carry with me into old age? What can I leave behind when I cross the threshold to 60 next year? I'm seeing this year's work: letting go of issues and hangups I've struggled with my entire adult life. Don't get me wrong - I HAD to wrestle with these things. I had to explore, learn, listen to the siren songs of my demons. Engaging with these issues helped me gain a foothold into self-esteem, made me smarter, wiser, more grounded and kinder. I had to fight, listen, fall down and get back up again after each of the millions of battles.
But that was then. Enough already of this particular struggle, ok God? I'm serious. Help me let go. Thanks. Shalom.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
I went back to the Hirschhorn last night for round two with Song 1. It was well worth it. I love surprises like that. Though I still was unable to connect with the content - the people in the film could give a rat's ass about those of us watching them. Why should we care? - I was able to perceive the magic of the technology to an even deeper level. I walked around the building, got up close and personal with the piece. I took a million pictures, something that always helps me understand what I'm seeing in the moment. That helped. I also really enjoyed the tree shadows and glimpses of the other people there. I was with a friend who had a handle on the content. It was soothing to listen to him patiently explaining what remains opaque to me. Like I said yesterday, I am way NOT cool enough for art of this kind. Oh well.
The building itself seems to be absorbing the color and movement. It seems happy if indeed a building can be happy. Of course I think they can.
Today is cloudy. Allegedly it will rain at some point but it hasn't yet. I'm having a dinner party tonight which means I'll spend much of the day shopping, cleaning and cooking. It's the perfect way to spend a cloudy Saturday.
Shabbat Shalom, y'all!
Friday, March 23, 2012
What is art? Is it the piece itself, the way the piece is received or something else again? Does art require beauty? Does it require understanding? Must art provoke, disturb? Must it bring out the best or worst in us?
Don't ask me!
In particular the world of commercial art completely baffles me. I can not for the life of me understand why certain artists are the It Artists while others, equally talented to my eye, are largely ignored. Sometimes to me the game of commercialized art feels a whole lot like the Emperor without his clothes.
The other possibility is that I truly have no taste, and am so not cool. I'm saying all this because I went to see Song 1 at the Hirschhorn last night, will go check it out a second time tonight. I was blown away by the technology, unable to connect to the content in any way, shape or form. And I'm still trying to get the damn song out of my head.
I decided not to post the pics I took which are inferior in every way to those you can see in the Washington Post, New York Times, even Vogue Magazine! This is a big deal, and indeed the scale of the project is spectacular. But did I become intrigued, involved, or curious about the narrative as I watched? Not even for a second. Hmmmm.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees. ~Pablo Neruda
Cherry madness is passing quickly here in Washington DC. The gnarly black trunks started blooming at least a week ago. When I was there today it was clear they were past their peak, though the official biologist, who revised his prediction at least twice, dug in his heels and stuck with a date that coincides with the Cherry Blossom Festival but is not in alignment with what's going on with the trees. I can only imagine the arm twisting and political intrigue that kept him for saying what must be clear to everyone. My, my. We can't upset the visitors here for the festival. I guess!
I wouldn't miss it - I mean the annual ritual of walking round the Tidal Basin during cherry blossom season. It's always a beautiful landscape, but when the cherries bloom, it becomes unworldly, exotic. Wandering beneath the ring of cool pink fire, next to a peaceful body of water, cleanses and heals, gently burns away any energy you don't need. If you've never seen them, please know: you should. If you live here and don't go down, how sad! A walk around the basin lifts the heart, opens the mind, brings inspiration and creativity. It helps everything. What are you waiting for?
It was alien, exotic, beautiful - and weird - down there today. It's WAY too early for the trees to have passed their peak. Most years it happens between March 25 and April 8. The peak usually is fairly predictable, or was anyway. The trees felt kind of drunk to me, the afternoon drunkenness that follows a few too many glasses of wine with lunch. It's fun, but the rest of the day and evening are shot.
Due to the very weird vibe, I wandered somewhat astray from my usual path around the basin. I was drawn to walk next to the river instead of completing the circuit as I usually do. There weren't too many people by the river, and too I LOVE the Potomac. Jake and I walked there often when I still had my car. He loved that particular strip as much as I did.
It's my practice to eat a blossom or two. I know I'm not supposed to, but it always seems right. Ordinarily the blossoms taste like a sour version of Vicks 44. The cherry taste is there, but no sweetness. Today's blossoms were so bitter I actually could not consume them. I felt my mouth shriveling as if I'd eaten a persimmon, had to spit them out.
Please don't ask me if that means something. I thought about it but have no idea. Do you?
Monday, March 19, 2012
One of my great teachers used to say that we are two eyed for a reason; depth perception is one aspect of discretion, which is, or maybe I should say can be, one of our most noble talents. The elements and natural forces are "one-eyed" or so she said. The element of air can be the softest breeze or a hurricane and indeed it doesn't seem that the elements or natural forces ever practice discretion, nor does Brother Wind ever wonder about truth.
What is truth? I ask that question often. Do you know? Neurological researchers tell us that our little buddy the hypocampus decides for each individual what is real, what is true, subsequently creating what they call the "best possible story" for the conscious function. This best possible story is based on sensory data, but also on memory, and according to each individual's values. There is no one objective truth.
But wait, there is! The sun will rise every day, that's true and also real. Except it isn't actually rising, the earth is turning towards our brother Sol. I could keep tripping down this path, but I'm sure you see where I'm going. Truth, reality, is pretty darn slippery, and there are many different kinds of truths.
I'm thinking about dishonesty today, because of provocative comments on yesterday's post. I appreciate the thoughtfulness and different points of view! That's THE TRUTH.
Everybody lies, though often it's not on purpose. Denial - for instance - is dishonesty that protects the denier. At some point, in some situations, we "break" denial. Some call those moments revelation, epiphany. Sometimes the shock of a brand new truth is very unpleasant. The way individuals deal with denial and its breakage says so much about their characters.
In relationships of all kinds, we practice diplomatic dishonesty in many different forms. Out of balance, diplomatic dishonesty becomes codependence, one of the most unhealthy types of controlling behavior, I think. It can also go out of balance in the other direction. I am no fan of radical honesty. I've seen people use that excuse to say the most hurtful things you can imagine. Part of being two-eyed means we can think before we speak. Well, we can, even though sometimes it's difficult. We can ask ourselves what we hope to accomplish by saying whatever it is that's tickling our throats, rattling the voicebox in its eagerness to get out. What I really dislike about radical honesty is the idea that we should never filter what we say. Should we say everything? To what end?
Is dishonesty by omission a lie?
As you can see, I've got a lot of questions circling around my head and heart this morning. What is your truth?
Sunday, March 18, 2012
As you might imagine, I spent years in psychotherapy trying to understand how it was that I ended up in so many love triangles. I believe I engaged a bit more often than the statistical norm, though maybe it seems like that because I felt bad about it. My therapist and I spoke endlessly, it seemed, about the original triangle of mom, pop and baby, about recreating that situation later in life in love triangles. It makes sense that I replayed the original triangle repeatedly, tried to get it right, since neither my mother nor father liked me very much.
But these sacred dramas in which we humans engage are never simple. In addition to the psychological levels, there were other energies at play. Oh the hormones! Oh. I was driven by my hormones back in the day. I loved sex, came of age in the late 60s at which time I dove straightaway into the sex-drugs-rock-n-roll lifestyle. Though I admit that "free love" (whatever that means) never actually worked that well for me, I tilted hard into it. Oh the hormones!
A medium said, once upon a time, "Reya, you have come into this life with a tremendous number of karmic contracts to fulfill. You will complete many of these agreements through love and sex." She also said, "Just remember: YOU DON'T HAVE TO MARRY THEM!"
If only I had listened! I was married twice and lived with a number of other partners with whom I believe I was karmically engaged. There is something very potent about a romantic relationship that trumps pretty much every other kind of connection with the possible exception of parent-child. I see the logic of monogamy. There are only 24 hours in a day; to participate in a love relationship takes a lot of time and energy.
A friend asked yesterday, is it a betrayal to get overly involved in work, with a hobby or activity? Are the people who get obsessed with sports or arts or activities creating a love triangle? Good question! I don't think so, because these activities are out in the open. Obsession with work or whatever can create imbalance that unfairly syphons energy away from the primary relationship, but these situations are not in the same league as love triangles. Not even close, at least in my mind.
It was the necessity for lying and sneaking around that got to me in every love triangle situation, no matter the particulars. It wore me out and squashed my self esteem like a cigarette butt under the heel of an army boot. Ouch. One of my great teachers explained that every time we lie (everyone lies) we are telling ourselves that we can't be trusted. Yeah. The fact that my lovers also lied and snuck around felt to me as if they were ashamed of our connection. Rationally I know they were doing the same thing I was, protecting the people around us from hurt while we explored the situation. Emotionally it didn't feel protective, just dishonest.
We humans are intense beings, driven by instinct but with a yearning to be rational and behave well, according to the rules. We come into this world with stacks of karma to contend with on every level, physically, mentally, emotionally. And of course we want to connect, to be loved, to feel love. We long for the magic of synchronicity, understanding (so rare, isn't it?) No wonder we flop around so often. Mistakes are made! Good lord.
At the conclusion of every love triangle in which I was involved, all three people were hurt, albeit in different ways. You would think I might have learned, over time. Maybe I'm learning now; I still hang out with couples, but it has been many years since I engaged romantically and/or sexually. Thank god. Onwards and upwards.
Happy Sunday. Shalom.
Saturday, March 17, 2012
I was under the weather yesterday. It's a situation that's always a bit unnerving since I live alone. What if something went very wrong? I always wonder about that when I don't feel well. Fortunately yesterday I realized whatever virus was passing through me was mild, hence was able to turn my mind to other things.
I've been thinking about the love triangle (because I'm finally watching Mad Men on netflix, probably). It is an essential human dilemma in this culture at least, which is why it appears in virtually every story, book, movie, song, and poem. The truth that most of us are not monogamous but we live in a society that expects monogamy, that demands stable, long term, exclusive relationships, puts people between a rock and a hard place. The heart opens, but if we follow our hearts, there will be hell to pay. Prior to that hell is a lot of lying and sneaking around.
Lately I've wondered whether any choice is "right" in these situations. What is a measure of having done it right?
The situation of the love triangle reminds me of the difficult stories in the Torah that Rabbi Manewith said are meant to challenge and provoke, make us examine and re-examine our values and ethics. There are tests in the military and elsewhere that do not have correct answers and can not be aced. They're tests of character rather than knowledge or expertise. Perhaps in our society, the love triangle provides rich opportunities to plumb the depths of our hearts, minds and bodies, to discover the things we need to change, or to understand our deepest desires, or both.
In my prime, I occupied every corner of a number of romantic triangles. Perhaps I learned from these experiences, perhaps not. What I remember about them is that they are very challenging but very compelling, too. I don't think back happily on these experiences when I look at them whole, but I treasure bits and pieces, blissful moments spent with the person I wasn't supposed to be with, or the way in which the affairs I engaged in helped me appreciate my primary relationships. It worked that way sometimes, it really did.
At least for me, there was never a happy outcome because according to the rules of monogamy, taking part in this sacred drama meant someone would betray, or be betrayed. What a set-up!
What's the alternative? Some people choose to keep their hearts closed to all except the chosen partner, and it seems to work well from what I've seen, though I feel sad imagining all the possible expressions of love these people denied themselves. Polyamory is another option. There are plenty of people who believe it's best to bring it all out into the open. They toss out the conventional rules and seem to live quite happily with the openness. I'm the first person to admit I'm not monogamous, but polyamory has no appeal. Even one relationship is impossibly time consuming and difficult to manage. But consciously taking on more than one at a time? Whoa. I always feel for the #2 wife in these situations because she must yield to the #1 wife in all things. That can not enhance self esteem, hey? But maybe I just don't get what polyamory is about.
Is it any wonder that I've spent most of my adult life single? Ha!!
Shabbat shalom, y'all.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
I read this morning that the cherries will peak very early this year. This comes as no surprise! The bloom will reach its zenith a full week earlier than usual. This bodes well for a satisfying visit with the trees around the Tidal Basin. The last week of March and first week of April are when the tourist population ordinarily soars. Maybe we locals will be able to hang out with the blooms for a few days before the throngs arrives from elsewhere, ya think?
Is it selfish of me to want a little time with the cherries sans tourists? Maybe. It's hard, as a citizen of the nation's capital, to share the city with the rest of the nation. I could get into a little rant on my difficulties with tour groups and tour busses, but life is short; I'll skip it.
It's another glorious day in DC. I'll see clients this morning, spend the afternoon wandering. The weather gods have been very kind, providing with just enough warmth, abundant sunshine and pouffy trees as a backdrop for working my way out of the emotional slog of late. Hey all you deities of high pressure and springtime beauty, THANK YOU!
With my mind and heart now almost completely clear of the slog, I'm hoping to entertain more interesting ideas than those that attend my original wound. Yes, please! Shalom.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I am much better today! Thanks, y'all, for the good energy and encouragement. Originally I planned to post yesterday as a gesture only. I meant to show myself there's no reason to feel ashamed when I'm triggered. Even at my age, it happens. I thought I would leave it up for a couple of hours, then delete it. But all the good wishes in response convinced me to leave it up.
Today I'll be out and about again in the brilliant sunshine. Temps will reach the lower 80s; I won't even need a jacket. Ahhhh... a beautiful spring day on top of the love bombs yesterday should put me straight again.
I'm very lucky to have so many great friends. Thank you. Shalom.
At the Suprasensorial exhibit at the Hirschhorn yesterday. Fantastic show! Don't miss it.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I'm triggered, y'all. I'm slogging through an original injury and I do mean original. OK, here it is: my mother did not want me, did not welcome me into the world. I don't blame her. I've thought about it, worked through it EXTENSIVELY during my ten years on the psychotherapeutic couch. I know this issue, and have explored it from every which way. I released the anger and blame long ago.
Times were tough in our family when my mother became pregnant with me. She and my father were victims of McCarthy's witch hunts, had a terrible time finding and keeping jobs. They already had two kids; they were stretched thin.
The day I was born, my father was not working. In fact he was in the hospital for something, can't remember what. My mother was worried sick about money, and too it was February of 1953. Can you imagine her medicalized labor and delivery? Oy vey. Did I mention it was Friday the 13th?
To make matters worse, I was a very tough baby - cried all the time, terrible colic, ear and throat infections all the time, did not sleep. I know in my heart of hearts that my mother did her best, but from the get-go there was a basic disconnect between the two of us. She didn't, at any level, understand why I wanted to wear dresses and mary janes rather than dress like my proletariat sisters in brown corduroy pants and sensible shoes. She did not get why I was so shy, why I worried all the time. I worried ALL the time when I was a little girl.
When we went to the grocery store, I stuck close to my mother. My sisters were content to hang out in the aisle with the toys and magazines, which would certainly have been far more fun than riding around in a grocery cart. But I never let my mother out of my sight - I knew she would ditch me if given half a chance. Well, that was my little girl translation of what I felt in my heart of hearts: the disconnect between us. I'm sure my mother never considered abandoning me, but it felt like that to me. One time I fell asleep in the car on the way home. They decided to let me sleep in the back seat for awhile. When I woke up, everyone was gone, I was alone in the car. Needless to say, I lost it - had a major meltdown for which I was shamed for years afterwards. It wasn't until my mid-30s that I stopped worrying, anytime I was anywhere with anyone, that they would forget I was with them, or would decide to leave without me. For heaven's sake! What a powerful wound.
Awww. I can hear one thousand tiny violins playing for me, can you? Seriously, I'm 59 years old and can still be triggered by this ancient truth. Good lord. I can't be psychologically triggered for very long since I've been through the story umpteen times with various healers, and have learned many many many many ways to soothe myself when this issue arises.
This time around I was triggered at a visceral level. For the last week or so I have been doing everything I know to move onwards and upwards away from the old feelings. It has not been pleasant but I'm getting there, or so says my sister Hannah who can read my energy even from 3,000 miles away. But I'm having nightmares about being abandoned by my sibs, cohorts, friends, colleagues and neighbors, evidence of the old wound flaring up. It's kind of incredible to realize it continues to pack a wallop when kicked up and active for a little while. I hope it is only for a little while!
Wish for me some patience, will you? I've been here before, though not for a long time. It won't last forever and in the meantime I'll continue doing everything I can to let go. Thanks for listening. Shalom.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
It's a gorgeous spring day in Washington DC. (triumphant fanfare)
I'll be working all day. (minor chord)
Actually, it's fine that I'll be working. It's great, in fact. When I'm finished working, it will feel like 4:30 even though the clocks will say 5:30. There will be plenty of time to take a nice walk around the circuit of Lincoln Park. (upbeat music, perhaps calypso - something cheerful)
As you can see, my day already has a sound track. That's a good thing!
How will you spend your Sunday? Will you take in a few lungfuls of fresh air? Check out the sky? Listen to the birds? I hope you do. Life is good and I am grateful, oh yeah.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Man sitting in the lobby of the Willard Hotel, where I received a massage yesterday.
Most of the time I am not a fan of the full moon, but this time around, my crazy Auntie Luna was gentle and beneficent, or at least this is how I experienced the moon this time.
I had the day off work yesterday, so I took a very long walk, received a very long massage in the spa at the historic Willard Hotel downtown, made a simple dinner for myself and went to bed early. Ahhh!!
A client and friend who has been terribly sick with the effects of Lyme disease is in Germany receiving state of the art treatment. I heard from her yesterday that she's having a wonderful time. I've been so worried about her! This is good full moon news. Likewise another friend and client is in Europe right now, touring with a very rare and expensive coin. She was nervous about the journey because of the value of the coin and the ridiculous pace of the trip, but she is really enjoying it. She's getting great press coverage, also having a wonderful time. Good full moon news!
Today will also be pretty easy. I'll see clients this morning, then take a trip to Whole Foods, another one of my very favorite activities. Tonight I'll cook and entertain. All is well.
The birth last week kind of knocked the wind out of my sails, but thanks to the Sufi acupuncturist and my wonderful massage yesterday, and thanks to this sweet full moon, I'm back into my usual good humor, full of energy and ready to welcome my clients this weekend. Life is good and I am grateful!
How was your full moon?
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Whether you think you want to or not, you are now in the process of merging with technology. You, me and pretty much everyone else in the "developed" world, should say.
The physical impact of spending so many many hours staring at screens (small and large) as opposed to interacting with the "real" world has not yet been fully assessed. Physically we are heavier and weaker than ever in our species' history. Psychologically and spiritually, too, we are experiencing rapid change but it's still too early to say how this will change us.
Those who romantically yearn for a time before we were merging with technology will have to look further back in time than perhaps they would like. The truth is, we have been headed in this direction for a long time. I think it began when we learned how to build. We took up the hammer or blade, looked around, and made use of the landscape. Coming indoors all those aeons ago as we taught ourselves to build tipis, yurts, huts, sheds and barns brought us into a more or less controlled environment, cone shaped, round or cubical. When we began living indoors, it changed not only the things we thought about, but the way we thought. Our neural networks shifted to accommodate more hours of safety and comfort. Once we were safe, we spent more time wondering than ever before, about the world and our place within it. I believe it is when we began to live indoors that we fell so in love with the idea of a rational, sensible world.
When we're indoors, the edges of our environment are just a few feet away. Even in the largest palaces we can see the horizons of our landscapes. That makes us feel bigger, more powerful. When we came indoors, we stopped thinking of ourselves as a part of the natural environment. At that point we began to believe we were somehow above or beyond "nature." That stage of development wasn't exactly great for our species or what we call "nature."
John Perry Barlow, pre-smartphones, defined cyberspace as like “the place you go when you're on the phone." I've been thinking about that a lot, about how we have created a brand new kind of shelter, the interior tipi of cyberspace. The way we think now about connections, friendships, and relationships is in a state of revolution. These days we gather in huge collectives with those we know and those we've never met - inside our minds. The rooms of cyberspace are huge, big enough to accommodate literally millions all at once. Billions? It's a lot! This is a huge shift. I wonder every day what this is doing to our neural networks. Don't you?
I feel very lucky to partake of this evolutionary jump with all of y'all here in the timeless wormhole of space we have co-created. Cheers!
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Age 59 is interesting. To my mind it is far more interesting than age 58 which, by the way, I loved. Attending age 59 is an uneasy sense or urgency that allegedly we are supposed to feel every day of our lives, to live fully now.
What is living fully? I could argue that I always have done so, depending on how you define "full." Last night a friend wanted to hear some stories. Once I started it seemed as if I couldn't stop telling story after story from my early adult lifetime: the breakup of my parents while I was still in high school, the deaths of my parents, the heinously ill-conceived affair with the painting professor, the subsequent death of his angry wife, oh my god ... the unfortunate timing of the night my boss raped me. Nervous breakdown, life for awhile in a volkswagon bus, enslavement to the drugs that gave me temporary relief, and many many many instances in which I made the worst possible decisions. Bloody hell it goes on and on.
I had to laugh on the way home. No wonder I love getting older! Youth was a bitch. I do not look back fondly on most of that time. It was full, though, oh definitely. My thirties were much better than my twenties even though I was in a horrible marriage, at least I was in San Francisco, zipping around on my scooter. My forties were far finer than my thirties as I got the hell out of that marriage, learned officially the art of shamanism, became more assertive and mindful. Yeah.
Fast forward - thank GOD - to age 59. I live in a beautiful house on a beautiful street in a beautiful city surrounded by friends, neighbors, clients. The sun is shining brightly this morning; temps later today will reach the mid-60s. I'll throw myself on the mercy of the Sufi acupuncturist this morning, work a little bit this afternoon, cook a nice, nutritious meal for myself this evening. All this fits a whole hell of a lot better than any situation in which I found myself during the decade of my 20s. Good lord.
So what am I worried about? Every decade in my very fortunate and very full life, I've found ways to become more comfortable with who I am, what I am and am not capable of. Maybe I don't have to stress out about the things that don't really fit because these days, they fall away. Once upon a time I would have kept tilting at all the things that didn't fit, but no more.
As of this second, I am going to practice not feeling so urgent about this last year of my fifties. Perspective is everything. Shalom.
Monday, March 5, 2012
DISCLAIMER: I know I always blame my non-existent pre-natal kidney jing for being such a wimp (thank you, Sufi acupuncturist, for giving me that excuse). I'm about to do so again.
I'm looking forward to a normal day today. I'll post to the blogs, then get the chateau ready for clients this afternoon. After work, I'll pick up some stuff from the dry cleaners, make some dinner, hang out. Good lord last week was a magical mystery tour! It's good to get back to a more recognizable rhythm.
My question to y'all who have kids is, how the HELL did you do it? I am in awe of each and every one of you, honestly I am.
One thing I'm contemplating this morning is the deep well of gratitude I have for the wisdom I always possessed, since I was a child, that I wasn't built for motherhood. Never once in all my reproductive years did I wish to be pregnant nor did I long to hold a baby in my arms. Never! Not even for a minute. It's amazing to think about.
I can be nurturing - definitely! Mama Gaia Reya is a supreme nurturer. I love to cook and feed people, and yes indeed I enjoy seeing my beloveds enjoying the food I've prepared. I believe these traits are in some way attached to the maternal instinct. And I have nothing against young people. Some I like, some I don't, which is exactly how I feel about adults. I've befriended many a kid, but I never wanted my own. I had my tubes tied when I was 23 years old, incredible to think about now, how I knew - I just KNEW - it was right. The doctor tried to talk me out of it. At the time I was fiercely annoyed, but looking back now I don't blame him. I've never regretted that decision, not even for a second. That truth is kind of incredible, even to me.
The prevailing notion, that all women are made to have children, is a bit mysoginistic. OK, yes we are all equipped with the necessary organs, just as all of us with two legs and two arms can play basketball. But if you're 5'2" and roly poly, maybe you should play the clarinet or study physics, leave basketball to others, hey?
Some of us women have the equipment, but not the desire, for kids. Some of us have such piss poor kidney jing that the rigors of parenthood would have been crushing in some way or another. A sickly mom is not a great idea, nor is an endlessly depressed mother. I have a sense I would have been both. Poor kids! Poor dad! Poor me. Ah thank God it never came to pass.
Once upon a time I would have had kids, because all women did if they could. I would have been one of those dark and creepy moms who always appear in books from the 19th century and before, probably would have taken to my bed by age 30, remained there for the rest of my days. Women used to do that, you know, go to bed and stay for decades.
Fortunately I was born at the perfect historical moment, not only because birth control became widely available in the U.S. just as I came of age, but also because at that moment, it was socially acceptable not to have kids. I thank God with all my heart for the fortunate timing of my life. Thanks, God!
I worry for women coming of age right now. Our reproductive rights are being curtailed in so many ways. I wonder why? Rush Limbaugh should be hospitalized, he is a very sick man. What is up with the men in Virginia and elsewhere who want women to have ultrasounds before abortion, and the Republican senators who did not allow women to testify about birth control - just men? Their behavior is hateful. It would be a very scary time to come of age.
My heart goes out to women of reproductive age who don't have money or resources. May they somehow miraculously prevail!
Sunday, March 4, 2012
My week has been an experience of stepping through the looking glass to be sure. The birth of my client's daughter definitely sent me through to the other side of reality, oh yeah. It was as if I had jet lag for a couple of days afterwards. That event also shifted my work schedule so that I'll be working Monday-Friday next week. What's weird is that I have this weekend free, a freakishly rare experience that is perfectly timed to give me a break I sorely need before heading into my busy week.
This is now normal people do it - quiet weekends and busy work weeks. Hmmm. I am running with the pack for this week at least.
This morning I'm drinking coffee, listening to the Mozart station on Pandora radio and reading the New York Times. It's a lifestyle I could get used to, I'll tell you, though in truth there are days during the week I spend exactly like this. There is something about Sundays, isn't there?
Later today I'll go visit the baby and family in their natural environment, do some errands, cook a Sunday supper. Funny, isn't it, that adjusting my behavior to cultural norms feels, to me, like being in an alternate reality? Ha. Happy Sunday. Shalom.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
Have you ever thought about how many rhythms are ongoing in your body all at once? It's not just heartbeat and respiration. Up and down your spinal cord, all around your brain, there is fluid in which the central part of your nervous system literally floats. The fluid pulses rhythmically, or so you hope. This deep craniosacral rhythm is subtle, feels ancient and oceanic.
There are many other overlying rhythms of course, like the circadian for instance. Sleeping and waking is a definite binary rhythm, the timing of which can either make or break your day. I remember when biorhythms was a big trend. That must have been during the 70s, finding correlations between three separate biological rhythms. I don't remember how it worked but I do know that on days when all three biorhythms were at low ebb, I wanted to duck and cover.
I could go on but the point here is that we are rhythmic beings on so many levels. I don't know about you, but when my rhythms are interrupted, I'm a bit of a wreck for awhile afterwards. A client of mine says she doesn't "transition" smoothly. Oh yeah, me neither! Even with plenty of sleep Thursday night, I was not right all day yesterday. I felt one step removed from the day passing before my eyes. I guess I was still Zombie Gaia Reya.
Last night I tossed and turned and today I feel completely out of it again. There are heroes out there who can work 24 hour shifts and bounce back from it. I am not one of them. Fortunately it's a rainy morning in DC and because I left my umbrella at the hospital, I'm forced to sit on the couch in my jammies, drinking cups of tea, listening to music. I might do this all day. We shall see.
I'm listening to very rhythmic music this morning, hoping it will inspire my rhythms to snap back into place ASAP. May it be so!
Friday, March 2, 2012
Thirteen hours of sleep did me a world of good. I took a 2 hour nap yesterday afternoon yet was still able to sleep hard for 11 hours last night. When I sleep long, when I wake refreshed, I am so happy. It makes me cringe a little, realizing that the new parents have not likely had anything close to a proper amount of rest. In exchange for their sleep deprivation and exhaustion, though, is happiness at the arrival of their daughter.
I'm working hard all day today, trying to make up for the cancelled appointments Wednesday and Thursday. But get this: for the first time in years (unless I was traveling or taking a class), I have the entire weekend free. Whoa. A real weekend, like a real person. I'll need it; no one gets over a marathon in one day, at least not after age 50, but still ... a whole weekend? It's almost freaky.
Feeling good today to have laid down the mantle of doula. (I never liked that word. It doesn't adapt, how does one conjugate this term? Doula-ing? For heaven's sake.) It wasn't my best work and as I am speeding straightaway towards the end of the decade of my fifties, it's right and proper to release all endeavors that don't fit like a glove.
In exchange for my willingness to loosen my grip on what no longer makes sense, I feel I'm being given a free weekend. What a blessing! With a big bow I say to the Mysterious Ones who arranged the timing of this: THANK YOU!
Shabbat shalom, y'all.